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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings!

My father owns a 2005 X3 E83 with the "Business Radio". It's very barebones compared to today's standards in terms of connectivity. We'd like to connect our phones for music playback, either via 3,5 mm or bluetooth, and since the FM band is scheduled for retirement in 2017, install a DAB(+) module.

I've been looking at different ways to go about this, such as the Dension BT+DAB bundle, as well as plugging in an AUX cable and using a generic external DAB-to-FM converter. The latter seems more affordable, but it comes with looking ugly. The former costs the price of the bundle doubled to include work hours in the shop.

I'm seeking counsel today, asking how you've done it, or how you would've done it.

Herr Braun
 

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Neither takes hours of work in a shop. The Denison Gateway Lite BT Module and the factory AUX in connection take only minutes to install.

The first problem is you did not specify exactly what X3 you have, we need the year, as some years are pre-wired. We also need to know exactly what options. do you have the Cellphone telematics module installed or the CD changer?

Adding an aftermarket AUX input cable can take less than 2 minutes if you are ok with just running the plug to the glove box. Factory installed AUXin you may not like as it goes to the back of the centeral arm rest for back seat access not for the driver or front passenger access.

the Denison unit takes only slightly more time to install as it also just plugs right in. I recommend getting the bluetooth version that way you plug it in and you are done. use the Bluetooth with your phone for all music after that.

Lastly you have a third option, an aftermarket radio can be installed in the dash. That way you can upgrade to a Digital FM tuner if you really want to keep FM radio. That option will only take an hour with the proper items purchased and the correct hand tools. but it can be far more advanced and you may be more comfortable paying a shop to perform a radio upgrade like that.

Note: the Denison module's iphone connection for charging is useless for a modern iphone. it works only for old iphone 4/4S it will never work for an iphone 6 or 6 Plus for charging. do not even bother with the iphone cable, just use bluetooth and the USB memory stick playback capability. The USB playback is a little wierd. you have to put files in folders that show up as CD1/CD2/etc... and you are limited. do not think you can install a 2tb hard drive and have tens of thousands of songs. you really are limited to less than 600 songs as you have 6 folders of 99 songs each. At least that is what I discovered is the sweet spot of stability for the Denison unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply, tim!

It's from 05 and it lacks cellphone and CD changer.

Using the Dension, is it possible to control the music playback from the phone through the steering wheel?

Regarding the third option, do you mean swapping out the entire unit which is already installed?
 

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Aux cable and DAB unit will give you audio, but not as intended. no on radio display of song information, no steering wheel control of phone audio. Both of those will only be available on the phone it's self.

the only way to get full display and control is a full replacement.

The problem is all add on devices have to simulate a CD changer to the radio, and you are limited to what that interface is capable of. BMW radios were 5 years out of date when they were installed, so the technology in your X3 is over 15 years old technology wise.

If it is OK to manually control music on the phone and completely abandon the steering wheel controls for anything but volume control, you can get away with an AUX input and a Denison device. I do not know what distracted driving laws your country has, it may be illegal for you to change music on your phone while driving.
 

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I use mediabridge made by Audiovox (formerly Dice). BT streaming works well. Cost was 150 USD and install time plus firmware update was 30 minutes.

I am not familiar with DAB.

Btw, steering wheel controls work for track up and down.
 

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the mediabridge will control the phone through bluetooth for track selection? That is cool! I need to find a used unit on ebay and get rid of the denison unit.

does it work with a modern iphone/android phone as well via the USB? I was unable to find anything that can control and charge a modern phone via usb.

Also do you have acceptable audio with the bluetooth? there are a lot of reviews that the bluetooth audio is horrible.
 

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Mine is in armrest. Quality is fine. No skips or jitter. I only use BT stream mode. iPhone 5 and 5S with iOS 8.3

Aux, I use factory port instead.
USB mode, I tried iPhone and flashdrive. Works fine but I don't use it regularly.

Can't say if others with BT audio issues are installing the trunk.

The firmware updates are fairly regular and that is a good thing always.
 
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